The Differences Between a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA

Choosing the correct account for yourself and your family may seem complicated and confusing, but you only have a few options when it comes to how you wish to be taxed. Below we share a comparison between a Traditional IRA vs a Roth IRA.

Traditional vs. Roth

  • Traditional: You may potentially receive a write-off on your taxes for contributions, determined by your household income. The funds then grow tax-deferred by revenue and dividends generated from your investments. Upon retirement age (59.5) you can begin distributing funds from your Traditional IRA without penalty, but this income will be added to your gross household income, so you will have to pay taxes on these funds. You can, if you wish, wait to distribute any funds from your account until 70.5 years old. At that point, the IRS rules say you must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions or RMD’s. This is basically the government’s way of saying, you received a write-off when you put these funds into this account we need to make sure to get our taxes before you pass away. I know, somewhat morbid!
  • Roth: You do NOT receive a write-off on your taxes for contributions. The contributions you make to this account are “after-tax dollars.” However, you will get to grow your retirement money tax-free, forever! Like the Traditional IRA, the funds then grow by revenue and dividends generated from your investments. After age (59.5 and 5 years of the account being opened) you can take a distribution that is both penalty and tax-free. This tax-free distribution increases your NET household income. This is also an excellent choice for an estate planning tool, as you do not have to take any RMD’s, at any age. You have already paid your taxes. You are free to do what you wish with your distributions.

* High-income households: your financial advisor may tell you that you do not qualify for a Roth. There is something called a backdoor conversion that you can contribute to a Traditional and not receive a write-off, then convert the next day to a Roth. There is never a no iif this is the account type you want!

These are the primary differences between Traditional and Roth retirement accounts. There are some other rules that may or may not apply to you depending on your household income. Please speak to a Mountain West IRA representative if you wish to learn more.

Are you interested in learning more? Here is a no cost, no obligation webinar for you to check out: Alternative Asset Allocation Model

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